Motivation Is Worth More Than Expertise?

December, 7, 2015 | 21 Comments


  1. David,

    I may have misunderstood but I am not sure that if a parent saw their toddler become ill and go in to decline after a vaccination that their observations should be derided anymore than the man who wants to commit suicide after taking Champix. I don’t doubt that SSRIs should be implicated in the rise of autism but we are talking about >x100 and I doubt whether the effect that you have described, while significant, could account for that. Doubling the rate for a sub-group of parents (say 10% of them) won’t get you there. I would say further, that we have to be even more careful institutionally of infants who cannot articulate what’s going on if a medication has a negative effect on them.

    As we know there is now a whistleblowing CDC scientist, William Thompson, who wants testify before Congress that they hid in one study carried out in Atlanta a sub-group of African American children, who were three and half times more likely to develop autism having received MMR vaccine before 36 months, and also according to tapes in the same study suppressed a diagnostic sub-group of children who developed “isolated autism” (that is autism without intellectual deficits). Nor was it the only study in which the data was massaged to hide the effect, for instance a notorious one where the co-ordinator between the CDC and Denmark is now on the run for embezzlement and they weighted the vaccinated group by including children who had not yet been vaccinated and children who had not yet been diagnosed.

    And btw they played exactly the same trick at the CDC with the Verstraeten thimerosal study. Or we have studies in which they matched children who had the vaccine and got autism with children who had the vaccine and didn’t and then concluded that the vaccine didn’t cause autism ie exactly like saying tobacco doesn’t cause lung cancer because not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer.

    So, I don’t think the MMR case is a good counter example as something self-evidently ridiculous (but perhaps that wasn’t your intention). We need on the same basis to pay far more attention to what happens to infants and toddlers post vaccination, rather than ignore them (as we’ve been taught) and pay more regard to anyone who reports anything. In the UK anyone who actually listened to parents (as Wakefield did) would most likely end up before the GMC like Wakefield, and that is huge institutional bias.


    • John

      There is no implication here that the parent’s obvservations should be disregarded. What I am trying to point out is that just the same observations where they include challenge, dechallenge and rechallenge provide the very strongest evidence there is – stronger than RCTs.

      Re MMR – I’m quoting from Vice here – this is how these issues are portrayed in the media


  2. “Re MMR – I’m quoting from Vice here – this is how these issues are portrayed in the media”

    David, that’s fine. Also we have case with MMR where the child recovered somewhat after the first only to be knocked over the head by the second. I spent a lot time, incidentally, challenging advice on an NHS (MMR the Facts) website to give a second dose when there was a severe reaction to the first.


    • John, in regards to the second dose of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, according to the manufacturers’ data (GSK and Merck), most seronegative individuals are likely to be immune after the first dose of live MMR vaccine, which can be verified via antibody titre testing, i.e. a blood test.

      Since June 2012 I have been arguing that parents should be offered the option of antibody titre testing to check immunity after the first dose of live MMR vaccine, rather than be compelled to have their child arbitrarily revaccinated with a second dose of MMR vaccine.

      I have written to Australian politicians, the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Medical Association, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, the US Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services, and vaccine promoter Paul Offit, plus others, on this matter. (See my webpage with links to my correspondence: )

      None of these parties have acted to ensure parents are offered the option of antibody titre testing before arbitrary revaccination with the second dose of live MMR vaccine.

      In Australia parents are not advised of the option of antibody titre testing after the first dose of MMR vaccine, and from January 2016 they will be compelled to have the second dose of MMR vaccine for their children to access government benefits, i.e. they are being coerced into having questionable medical interventions for their children.

      It is absolutely despicable what is going on, the way in which the right to ‘informed consent’ before the medical intervention of vaccination is being trashed. Where do we turn to get justice on this matter?

      For information, my submission on the No Jab, No Pay Bill provides further background:

  3. I find this a very thought-provoking post. As a retired teacher who taught for almost 40 years, I find the possible link between SSRI use / alcohol dependence and autism/foetal alcohol syndrome fascinating. I recall my first class of 30 seven year olds where one little girl was definitely dyslexic (by today’s standards – unheard of in those days!) and one boy had signs of ADHD (again , by today’s standards). By the time I retired 10 years ago, any given class of 30 pupils would have a good few children with ‘dyslexia type problems’ another good few with ‘attention deficits’ and yet another group would have ‘behavioural problems’. These were apart from a number equivalent to at least 1 per year group in need of a Statement of Special Educational Need. I know 40 years is a long time but something, somewhere was causing these differences in the ability of children to cope within a ‘learning environment’. I have long thought that it has to do with the change in our relationship with alcohol. Drinks seem to have an ever-increasing alcohol content and consumption increases year on year – resulting, in my opinion, in more and more children born with foetal alcohol syndrome. FAS, in turn, is being mis-diagnosed as Autism or ‘Autistic Spectrum Disorder’ (in my opinion). The sooner we learn to be satisfied without the inclusion of ANY of these drugs in our lives the better will be the outcome for our youngsters (again…in my opinion!).

  4. Mary, I can believe why you said that.

    I remember a couple of years ago we used to have such good debates on this blog. I remember a good ding dong with Richard Lawhern and then there was Ann-Marie who alerted us to how ssris could develop into alcohol dependence.

    The only reason for teachers to learn about children’s disorders is because Pharmaceutical Companies have trained everyone to talk their language and to give their pills for it.

    The World Brain Washing Goes on like a Spinning Wheel with Entrapment for All.

  5. The Worlds Biggest Insult to all those harmed by Seroxat/Paroxetine/Paxil in this unapologetic video containing Ben Goldacre with GlaxoSmithKline

    … it again….and again…and again

    Can you help AllTrials grow?

    AllTrials Campaign

    Today at 6:18 AM

    Dear friend of AllTrials

    To make every clinical trial count, changes to registration and reporting behaviour need to be global. Building support for AllTrials in the US is crucial.

    The UK AllTrials video has helped tremendously to raise awareness and grow the campaign.

    Watch it again to see the impact it has. It captures clearly and powerfully why clinical trial transparency is so important, as described by the people to whom it matters most – patients.

    The US is a very different place to the UK, and we need the campaign to have the best possible tools for success. This means a US version of the video, with US stories and voices.
    We urgently need to raise $12,000 to do this. Can you help us?

    The video will help US supporters spread the word, and encourage people to become campaigners themselves. It will hammer home just how important it is that all clinical trials get registered and their results reported.

    Please donate something towards our fundraising appeal and make the US video a reality. You can also help by sharing our appeal with friends and colleagues. Thank you so much for your continued support.

    Best wishes


    James Cockerill

    Campaigns Manager
    Sense About Science

    Science and evidence in the hands of the public

    Follow the #AllTrials campaign @senseaboutsci
    14A Clerkenwell Green | London | EC1R 0DP
    Tel +44 (0) 207 490 9590 | Mob +44 (0) 79200 92335
    We depend on donations, large and small, from people who support our work. You can donate, or find out more, at
    Registered Charity No. 1146170, Company No. 6771027.

    • Here is the great conundrum. This video is wonderfully produced. The points it makes are great. But partly because of the slick GSK involvement the prospect opens up that what’s going on is an effort to capture transparency. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy?


  6. I really enjoyed this – and the illustrations – specially “You can take a bureaucrat to papers but can’t make him think”!

    A few thoughts: back in the day, the 1950s, psychiatrists were genuinely interested in the unexpected effects of medication (hence noting the adverse effects of imipramine). Certainly my father-in-law, working throughout the 50s and 60s made meticulous records of his patients: their circumstances, symptoms and treatment – including things that surprised him. He was also struggling with the new interest in statistical analysis of treatments: trying to get some basic data about efficacy etc – but was constantly frustrated. Partly with his own mathematical inexperience – but also because frequently he just couldn’t detect anything statistically important, working on such a small scale. But, his observations about which patients benefited (or not) from ECT, for instance, or the fact that many inpatients dropped their medication as soon as they went home because of ‘intolerable side effects’ seem about as objective as you can get.

    In terms of gathering data about adverse effects: I never believed that any post marketing reports ever got done – who would make them? No psychiatrist or GP in my experience, particularly if I’m right in thinking that if a side effect (nausea for instance) was already on the Patient Information Sheet there was no obligation to report? (might be wrong about that). Even less likelihood if the doc thought that restlessness, agitation, insomnia and suicidal thoughts were a standard part of the illness. Chicken/egg situation. I was always confused by the mantra that the most dangerous period for suicide was when the patient began to feel better (as a result of the medication) – and thus had the energy to act on the impulse to kill themselves – I could never make sense of that – because, if you really were starting to feel better – surely you wouldn’t want to polish yourself off…..? Or am I missing something.

    So, the sheer scale/numbers of known adverse effects will never show up – because no one is capturing the data.

    A friend of mine (who does know something about statistics) said, when I commented that anecdotal evidence seemed on the whole more accurate to me – don’t we then end up with homeopathy, because so many people (anecdotally) find it helpful…that stumped me. I suppose water, generally, doesn’t kill people however.

    • The reply to the homeopathy question is no one should use a parachute until a controlled trial proves it works. The reason trials are needed for homeopathy is the outcomes are debatable and as a result we need to manage wishful thinking and our tendency to see benefit where there is none. When someone turns blue on a drug and goes back to normal when the drugs is removed and turns blue again on re-exposure to the drug – then the outcomes aren’t debatable and a controlled trial isn’t needed/

      The argument about feeling better and suicide a fig-leaf. It applied to ECT which has an anti-parkinsonian effect so that people who were mute and stupurose start moving and they may at that point still be suicidal. The early descriptions of suicide on imipramine explicitly contrasted what was happening with the Rollback phenomenon – this is not the same as with ECT they said.


  7. Some really stunning news on pregnancy and suicide from the UK – at least some of it very relevant. First, suicide is the leading cause of “maternal death” (meaning perinatal death I assume) in the UK. Second, “perinatal suicides” are not only on the rise, but the methods are said to be more violent than what is otherwise typical for women.

    The article puts this down to lack of specialist care for pregnant women and new mums who show signs of distress. I’ve no doubt that’s true. But I also ask: what care (including psych meds) were they getting from GPs or non-specialist psychiatrists? And really, if they’d been sent to specialist care, would the specialists have done something different?

    I know David’s conclusion, looking at the evidence, is that classic “postpartum psychosis” is much less common than it used to be, and this is one big reason why specialist mother-and-baby units have been shutting down. But I wonder if those units once provided caring supervision for women with lots of milder problems too — first time mums feeling overwhelmed, women in really rough home situations, etc. Women who are now sent home with a nice fat antidepressant Rx instead?

    I also wonder how much of a problem “suicide while pregnant” was, prior to the Age of Psychopharm. Is that on the rise? These days it’s hard as hell to get a breakout of pre-birth and post-birth suicide, it’s become policy to lump them together. I also wonder if suicides among pregnant women and new mums were more “violent” than those of other women in the past? Apparently they are now …

  8. There is a new comment to Is Motivation Worth More Than Expertise?.
    Comment Link:
    Author: kim
    “Telling women that they shouldn’t have access to this data is rather like telling them that they shouldn’t have control of their own bodies, that men or the state are going to decide for them. This might be the case in the Caliphate, but in London?”

    This is the case throughout medicine and particularly in psychiatry, I hate to say. As a 60+ female I have experienced a lifetime of such an attitude from adolescence through pregnancy and childbirth, menopause and any health/mental health issue I have experienced along the way.

    Men DO believe they have the right to control our bodies (and our minds).

    Thank you for your stance regarding objectivity needing to include all perspectives to actually be objective, and for your work to date on the dangers of psych meds.

    But with psych meds…no matter how long and loud many of us (both male and female) have screamed about the horrendous effects of these drugs, doctors simply will not listen. If we attempt suicide after being put on them, it is never the drug’s side effects but always our underlying “illness unmasked”. If we have our first ever psychotic break after being put on anti-psychotics or Z-meds, we were clearly psychotic all along, despite holding down exec level jobs, having fulfilling professional and family lives and being totally symptom-free. Our dirty secret, our lifelong defect, has been unmasked and we will never be allowed to forget it.

    We can do a challenge, just as one would do with allergic reactions and again and again show that it is the drugs, but because it is anecdotal and not an RCT (and we are mad people) it is discounted, and we can be forced to stay on meds and stay horrendously ill FOR THE TERM OF OUR NATURAL LIFE.

    …and if we are women of child bearing age, our children will be sentenced while still in utero. Men (almost overwhelmingly in positions of power) do have that power in Western society and they are very determined to hold onto it. It is a caliphate in disguise.

    Thanks for calling it out.

  9. • 13h
    Sense About Science @senseaboutsci

    Already, we’re getting great support for #AllTrials US video! Check out people’s reasons for donating

    Retweeted by SkeptVet


    Already, we’re getting great support for our US video fundraising! Here are just some of the reasons why supporters are donating to AllTrials:

    “Hiding half the data is how magicians do coin tricks and shell games. Why allow for-profit companies to do the same with trials on lifesaving drugs? Publishing all trials is simple common sense.” – Daniel Oberski

    “We need ALL available information to make informed decisions about health care. Few people outside of science realize how much publication bias distorts what we “know.” It’s time for that to stop.” – Cindy Seiwert

    “AllTrials is important to me because both doctors and patients deserve to know the full story on how safe and effective drugs are.” – Greg Spooner

    “With incomplete data we can only get an incomplete picture. All trials need to be published, commercial interests are less important than human lives.” – Robert Virkus

    “Clinical trials produce the ammunition we need to fight diseases, and it only makes sense as a species if we band together and share our resources to tackle cancer, HIV, ALS, and rare diseases.” – Paul Wicks

    “Fuck it, you guys deserve my money and I support what you’re doing wholeheartedly. Let’s shine light on all this data.” – Riley Burke

    Please donate whatever you can to help us reach our $12,000 target. Share your involvement and our GoFundMe page on social media using #AllTrials

    • 6h

    Thomas Hiemstra @Thomas_Hiemstra

    Restoring Invisible and Abandoned Trials #RIAT #alltrials – facing the unreliability of clinical trials literature

    drug and therapeutics
    of navarre,
    Facing the
    of clinical trials

    Tom Jefferson


    Centre for evidence Based medicine.

    oX2 6

  10. I have adamantly believed that psychiatric drugs are the MAIN cause of autism in this country ever since I began researching them. If they change our brain chemisty as much as they do they have to be changing the developing brain of the fetus. And if this is true, which I happen to believe it is then this is the largest healthcare fraud epidemic in American history. And I see no one taking responsibility for this debacle what so ever. They will continue to blame the patient for taking the drug as they continually do in psychiatry. We didn’t have this epidemic until SSRI’s were introduced in the 80’s. Nor when I went to school did we have school shootings because no one was on the drugs – yet. And when I read the article on Mad in America: Maternal Antidepressant Use Tied to Autism, this only confirmed my belief.

    Something is causing the skyrocketing numbers of Autism, and why psychiatric science is unable to understand the literature in front of them is beyond me. If I can find it, read it, and understand it why can’t a Doctor? I am a no body and I see it as clear as day is night. Of course, I was also one of their guinea pigs for decades as they prescribed over 50 psychiatric drugs to cure my ‘chemically imbalanced’ brain they said I had. Why are they in such denial? Well, I actually know the answer to that question. It all boils down to money – Greed. And at who’s expense? Ours, of course. The patient and our beloved babies.

  11. (Only just received my RxISK today so a bit late on replying). Just to comment on the SSRI and vaccination replies. John and Eliz are right to draw a parallel as the very same deceptive practices are evident in the vaccine industry, and one could argue even more so. Unlike SSRIs vaccines are mandatory, as Eliz points out, in Australia as well as many states in the US and some European countries (a couple in France just escaped a prison sentence for not vaccinating their child) so the profit margins are even higher when whole populations become recipients of a product. The point here surely is that Pharmaceutical companies, who are businesses with the sole aim (and legal aim in the US) to make profits, will seek to do that irrespective of the product they are selling. In other words, they will create a market and seek to ‘discourage’ any factors that might stymie profit potential. They do not suddenly become supremely honest and altruistic when producing vaccines. As yet there appears to be no convincing (depending on who is being convinced) research either to deny or link autism to either product, although there are plenty of studies which have been buried that do show a link. Isn’t there also a possibility that a cocktail of drugs and artificially produced viruses pumped directly or in utero, could produce developmental and related problems in a child? In other words, the over-use of medication/preventative medicine per se?

  12. Hello, I just wanted to say that my son was diagnosed with ASD when he was 10, he is now 16. I took Seroxat during pregnancy for the first 2-3 months, before I confirmed I was pregnant. When I found out I was pregnant I stopped cold turkey, maybe not the best thing to do while pregnant because it was traumatic, but I knew how destructive Seroxat was to me and so had no hesitation to stop at once. I had to go back on Medication after I gave birth, and did so for a few more years. When I decided to stop withdraw, I did so very very slowly, it took me 4 years to withdraw, and was a living hell. I had legal aid and was part of the class action group to take GSK to court for severe withdrawals, but because in my past I had smoked Cannabis, I got dropped because they wanted 100% wins, and said GSK would have blamed the Cannabis for my withdrawal symptoms, although I never smoked Cannabis at that time. Been off Seroxat for years now, yes I made it through the hell. But I still never reurned to the person I was before Seroxat, I now have depression constantly, crying most days, don’t go out at all, where as before I couldn’t stay in. Seroxat stole my life, and my Son’s life, as far as I am concerned. I have no support from anyone in my Journey of life since taking Seroxat during or after Seroxat, not even my family. Just wanted to add my Son’s autism to the record/numbers of children affected by Seroxat.
    Thankyou Lorraine.

Leave a Reply